Hemp Seed Oil, Nature’s Powerful Healer

Everyone’s talking about hemp — and there’s a good reason.

This lush plant is packed with beneficial nutrients, with the most potent properties concentrated in its seeds.

Hemp seeds have a long tradition of therapeutic use dating back to ancient times, first used in China to assist with pain relief around 2800 BC.

Rich in essential fatty acids, amino acids, protein, fibre, antioxidants and phytosterols, hemp seed is an increasingly popular natural superfood recognised for its anti-inflammatory and restorative powers.

Hemp seed oil is a derivative of hemp seed. Cold-pressed from the seeds, it is a delicious natural healer! As a dietary health supplement, hemp seed oil helps restore your pup’s general body homeostasis and wellbeing. From easing the symptoms of anxiety, stiff joints and arthritis to various inflammatory skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis, hemp seed oil works safely and gently to bring your buddy back to optimal, natural health.

Let’s look closely at what’s inside this magnificent nature’s superfood.

Fatty Acids: hemp seed oil is an excellent source of essential fatty acids. One tablespoon of hemp seed oil typically contains 14 grams of fat, of which only 1 gram is saturated. This low saturated fat content is another excellent benefit of using hemp seed oil instead of animal fats.

The ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 usually exists in hemp seed oil at a 3:1 level. This ratio is considered to be ideal for a healthy diet.

Furthermore, hemp seed oil is currently one of the very few natural food sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) — key anti-inflammatory fat; it regulates your pet’s hormones and helps restore their skin’s natural defence, the skin barrier. Pets need to get GLA from their diet, but this conversion needs a specific enzyme (D6D) and five essential nutrients (magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B3, and vitamin B6), all of which are abundant in hemp seed oil.

Phospholipids: a vital component of cell membranes, phospholipids support the absorption of fats, allowing them to be properly absorbed and metabolised.

Antioxidants: hemp seed oil is rich in vitamin E, one of the best antioxidants to help fight oxidative stress that causes premature ageing and chronic inflammation in the body.

B Vitamins: hemp seed oil has the entire B vitamins group complex, which helps calm dogs by converting 5HTP to the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin.

Minerals: hemp seeds are packed with all essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Three important minerals worth noting:

  • Zinc, an essential trace mineral, plays a major player in the creation of DNA, growth of cells, building proteins, healing of damaged tissue and supporting a healthy immune system.
  • Magnesium, an essential trace mineral, is involved in many critical processes, including moderation of blood sugar levels, regulation of blood pressure, muscle and nerve function, and the making of protein, bone and DNA. It also plays an important role in digestive health and good bowel movement.
  • Iron: hemp seeds contain a significant amount of iron (20 % of the recommended daily diet). This helps prevent iron deficiency or anemia.

Amino acids: hemp seed oil also contains all essential amino acids (building blocks of protein), including surprisingly high arginine levels.

Amino acid arginine is a metabolic precursor for the production of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule now recognised as a pivotal signalling messenger in the cardiovascular system that participates in the control of haemostasis, fibrinolysis, platelet and leukocyte interactions with the arterial wall, regulation of vascular tone, a proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, and homeostasis of blood pressure.

Fibre: Another nutritious and delicious superfood derived from hemp seed is protein. Hemp seed protein offers a spectacular amount of soluble and insoluble fibre (preferred food for your pet’s gut bacteria) and thus helps support microbial biodiversity and promote digestive health.

Health Benefits and Uses of Hemp Seed Oil

1. Muscle and Joint Health Support

The anti-inflammatory combo of Omega-3 fatty acid and GLA in hemp seed oil helps fight inflammation in the ageing or arthritic joints, reducing swelling and pain and improving mobility.

More insights on how to support your pet’s joints in our article Hip and Joint Care.

2. Skin & Coat Health

Rich in vitamin E (antioxidant) and anti-inflammatory fatty acids, hemp seed oil helps to reduce skin inflammation, modulate a healthy immune response to allergens, and boost your dog’s first line of defence, the skin barrier. Hemp seed oil can also be very effective when applied topically to itchy skin and skin rashes, hydrating, nourishing the skin and soothing irritation.

For more information on skincare and how hemp seed oil can help manage the symptoms of inflammatory conditions, read Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs: Causes and Treatment.

3. Heart Health

Rich in linoleic acid, hemp seed oil helps reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Lowering LDL levels (bad cholesterol) reduces the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

4. Gut Health

As mentioned earlier, the ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids in hemp seed oil is 3:1. This ratio is purported to support health in general and, more specifically, promote the good microbes in the gut flora, improving digestion. Furthermore, a review of studies suggests that the GLA in hemp seed oil effectively relieves symptoms of inflammatory conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

5. General Health and Immune System Support

Hemp seed oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. The GLA in the hemp seed oil exerts immune-modulating effects, regulates genes that affect cell death (apoptosis) and cell growth, and enables the release of cytokines that help control the growth and activity of immune system cells and signal the immune system to do its job.

GLA deficiency leads to increased and ongoing inflammation and immune dysfunction. A compromised immune function will devastate dogs’ health, making them more susceptible to infections, bacteria over-growth and viruses. But adding hemp seed oil to your pet’s daily regimen is a sure way to give them all the GLA they need to support and boost their immune system.

For more insight into the anti-inflammatory action of GLA and the immune-modulating role it plays in your pet’s health, read GLA — hemp seed oil’s secret weapon to fight inflammation.

At BUDDYPET, we recommend Marley for adults and Milly for seniors.

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Dr. Ailsa Rutherford

Dr. Ailsa Rutherford

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Senior practicing veterinarian. Member of the Australia and New Zealand College of Veterinary Surgeons in Emergency. Head of Animal Health at Buddy Pet P/L.